Category Archives: Policy

Bill takes aim at unions

Introduced with love on Valentine’s Day, House Bill 110 is a murky bill that puts restrictions on union agreements for government agencies and companies seeking public contracts for construction and repairs.
H110 Main Page

Short Title:        Public Contracts/Project Labor. (Public)
Sponsors: Representatives Goodman, J. Bell, Moffitt, and Murry (Primary Sponsors).
Referred to:  

A BILL TO BE ENTITLED

AN ACT to provide for fair and open competition in governmental construction contracts and to prohibit requirements for certain terms in government contracts.

The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:

SECTION 1. Article 8 of Chapter 143 of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new section to read as follows:

§ 143‑133.1.  Public contracts; labor organizations.

(a) It is the intent of the General Assembly that the provisions of this section will provide for more economical, nondiscriminatory, neutral, and efficient procurement of construction‑related services by the State and political subdivisions of the State as market participants. The General Assembly finds that providing for fair and open competition best effectuates this intent.

(b) Any agent or employee of the State, any board or governing body of the State or of any institution of the State government, or any agent, employee, or board or governing body of any political subdivision of the State awarding a contract for the construction, repair, remodeling, or demolition of a public building shall not in any bid specifications, project agreements, or other controlling documents:

(1) Require or prohibit a bidder, offeror, contractor, or subcontractor from entering into or adhering to an agreement with one or more labor organizations in regard to that project or a related construction project.

(2) Otherwise discriminate against a bidder, offeror, contractor, or subcontractor for becoming, remaining, refusing to become or remain a signatory to, or for adhering or refusing to adhere to an agreement with one or more labor organizations in regard to that project or a related construction project.

(c) An agent or employee of the State, any board or governing body of the State or of any institution of the State government, or an agent, employee, or board or governing body of any political subdivision of the State shall not award a grant, tax abatement, or tax credit that is conditioned upon a requirement that the awardee include a term described in subsection (b) of this section in a contract document for any construction, improvement, maintenance, or renovation to real property or fixtures that are the subject of the grant, tax abatement, or tax credit.

(d) This section does not prohibit an agent or employee of the State, any board or governing body of the State or of any institution of the State government, or an agent, employee, or board or governing body of any political subdivision of the State from awarding a contract, grant, tax abatement, or tax credit to a private owner, bidder, contractor, or subcontractor who enters into or who is party to an agreement with a labor organization if being or becoming a party or adhering to an agreement with a labor organization is not a condition for award of the contract, grant, tax abatement, or tax credit, and if the State agent, employee, or board or the political subdivision does not discriminate against a private owner, bidder, contractor, or subcontractor in the awarding of that contract, grant, tax abatement, or tax credit based upon the person’s status as being or becoming, or the willingness or refusal to become, a party to an agreement with a labor organization.

(e) This section does not prohibit a contractor or subcontractor from voluntarily entering into or complying with an agreement entered into with one or more labor organizations in regard to a contract with the State or a political subdivision of the State or funded in whole or in part from a grant, tax abatement, or tax credit from the State or political subdivision.

(f) The State or the governing body of a political subdivision may exempt a particular project, contract, subcontract, grant, tax abatement, or tax credit from the requirements of any or all of the provisions of subsection (b) or (c) of this section if the State or governing body of the political subdivision finds, after public notice and a hearing, that special circumstances require an exemption to avert an imminent threat to public health or safety. A finding of special circumstances under this section shall not be based on the possibility or presence of a labor dispute concerning the use of contractors or subcontractors who are nonsignatories to, or otherwise do not adhere to, agreements with one or more labor organizations, or concerning employees on the project who are not members of or affiliated with a labor organization.

(g) This section does not do either of the following:

(1) Prohibit employers or other parties from entering into agreements or engaging in any other activity protected by the National Labor Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. § 151 to 169.

(2) Interfere with labor relations of parties that are left unregulated under the National Labor Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. § 151 to 169.

SECTION 2. This act is effective when it becomes law and applies to all contracts awarded on or after that date.

Fascinating choice to head NC pre-k program

WRAL astutely points out that Dianna Lightfoot, the new state director of Child Development and Early Education in the Department of Health and Human Services runs an organization that is opposed to some of the fundamentals of early education, especially the state’s role in it.

The National Physicians Center, where Lightfoot is currently president, advocates against “institutional” preschool programs.

“In the case of early childhood education programs, available research suggests they may actually be inferior to early learning opportunities at home. In addition, it appears the demand for out of home childcare is not as prevalent as many advocates claim,” says an open letter signed by Lightfoot on the group’s website.

Other interesting items from the NPCFR site:
- The full name of the organization is The National Physicians Center for Family Resources Inc.;
- The chair of its board of directors also chairs the board of a very conservative, anti-gay organization in California;
- The person listed as the Government Affairs adviser for the organization keeps busy as the Senior Director of Policy at American Legislative Exchange Council and Vice President of Government Relations at Family Research Council among other duties.

More later as this snowballs . . .

WRAL – State’s new Pre-K chief opposes pre-K

A lecture on science at the NC legislature

A rather interesting lecture today at the legislature by John Droz, who has figured prominently in the state’s debate over sea-level rise standards.

Some takeaways: Apparently, many of our state’s scientists are actually anti-science and environmentalists are accepting their ideas in cult-like manner. Or something. (Update: here’s the link to a larger version of the slideshow, entitled Science Under Assault.)

There’s a breathtaking amount of irony in this presentation. Pretty sure this story will be making the rounds of various science blogs in short order.

You can watch some of the presentation and decide for yourselves. BTW, this will totally thrill those of you who enjoy watching someone read you a 150 or so slide Power Point presentation.
Enjoy.

WRAL – Lawmakers hear from climate change skeptic

Revenue Laws draft agenda

The Revenue Laws Study Committee is expected to offer its recommendations for changes to the state’s unemployment insurance system. The changes were discussed at the committee’s previous meeting in December.
Here’s the draft agenda for today’s meeting via the meeting documents page for January 8, 2013:

REVENUE LAWS STUDY COMMITTEE AGENDA
Rep. Julia Howard
Sen. Bob Rucho
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Room 544, Legislative Office Building
9:30 a.m.
I. Approval of Minutes from the December 5, 2012, Meeting
II. Overview of Draft Report
Legislative Proposal #1: UI Fund Solvency & Program Changes Cindy Avrette, Research Division, NCGA
Legislative Proposal #2: Revenue Laws Technical, Clarifying, and Administrative Changes Trina Griffin, Research Division, NCGA
III. Approval of Final Report
IV.

Unemployment insurance meeting

The General Assembly’s Revenue Laws Study Committee meets this morning and will review the state’s unemployment insurance program and proposed changes for the upcoming session.
Audio links page here.

REVENUE LAWS STUDY COMMITTEE AGENDA
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Room 544, Legislative Office Building, 9:30 a.m.
I. Approval of Minutes from November 8, 2012, Meeting
II. Bill Draft: Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund Solvency & Program Changes
Trust Fund Solvency: Benefit Changes, Contribution Changes, and Fund Balance Changes
Cindy Avrette, Research Division

Simulation of UI Tax and Benefit Reforms
Rodney Bizzell, Fiscal Research Division

Considerations for Refinancing the Debt
State Treasurer’s Office Workforce Development Initiatives Aubrey Incorvaia, Fiscal Research Division Roger Shackleford, Assistant Secretary, Division of Workforce Solutions, Department of Commerce

UI Programmatic Changes
Greg Roney, Research Division Comments from Interested Parties

III. Bill Draft: Revenue Laws Technical, Clarifying, and Administrative Changes Trina Griffin, Research Division
IV. Adjournment

Today in the legislature November 15

I would post the Environmental Review Commission agenda, but it is not online yet. The meeting starts at 9:30 a.m. and if in Room 544, which has audio.
Also on the schedule . . .
- 10:00 AM, Justice Warren Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Task Force, 1027/1128 LB
- 10:00 AM Career and Technical Education Committee (LRC)(2011), 415 LOB
- 10:00 A.M. – 3:00 P.M. Certificate of Need Process and Related Hospital Issues, House Select Committee on, 643 LOB

Hre’s the select committee’s agenda

I. Welcome and Opening Remarks
Representative Fred Steen and Representative John Torbett
II. Approval of Minutes

III. Certificate of Public Advantage Audit
Christopher B. Taylor, CPA, Assistant Secretary, North Carolina Medical Care Commission
K. D. (Kip) Sturgis, Assistant Attorney General, North Carolina Department of Justice
David Motsinger, CPA, Partner, Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP

IV. Update on Recent Court of Appeals Decision in Novant Health v. NC DHHS.
Jan Paul, Research Division

V. Finalize Recommendations for Committee Report

Final Meeting
Thursday, December 6, 2012
10:00 am Room 544 LOB

Program evaluation meeting

The Golden Leaf Foundation is up for review and NC Railroad will see more oversight maybe asked to cough up some dividends in the coming session. (There was some thought given to selling it off in the last session.)
Here’s the link to Executive Summary of the Program Evaluation Division’s work on the railroad issue.

Here’s the agenda for this morning’s meeting of the Joint Legislative Program Evaluation Oversight Committee

November 14, 2012 — 10:00 AM
Room 1228 Legislative Building
- 10:00 AM Remarks by Chairs
- Approve October 17, 2012 Minutes
- 10:05 AM John Turcotte, PED Director, on previous Committee action on postponing PED Golden LEAF project pending review of State Auditor report, Beth Wood, State Auditor to present audit report on Golden Long-Term Economic Advancement Foundation (Golden LEAF Foundation) Responding, Dan Gerlach, President Golden LEAF
- 10:35 AM Sean Hamel, Senior Program Evaluator presentation on PED report Stronger Reporting and Management Structure Would Improve State Bureau of Investigation Vehicle Oversight, Responding, Marshall Tucker, Assistant Director, State Bureau of Investigation
- 11:00 AM Ryan Blackledge, Drafting Division, presentation of draft bill to implement recommendations of PED report North Carolina Should Require NC Railroad Company to Pay an Annual Dividend and Strengthen Reporting
11:30 AM John Turcotte, PED Director, PED status